When we talk about the trade deadline here at MLB Daily Dish, we try to use sourced information. Some of that comes from our own Chris Cotillo, who busts his ass for scoops. Some of it comes from writers elsewhere, and we're explicit about where it's coming from. If we're speculating, we're clear on that while also trying to justify what we're saying.
But there's another approach, I guess. And that approach was demonstrated earlier today on ESPN by former Reds and Nationals "wonderboy" GM Jim Bowden, who has not had a job in the league since 2009 after resigning in the middle of an investigation for skimming off the top of his international prospects' signing bonuses. Bowden highlights five guys in the following video, and it's kind of a masterpiece in unsourced, random speculation.
Let's talk about each of these and why Jim Bowden is wasting our timed discussing them in this way.
Bowden is right that Gray was pitching horribly when he went on the disabled list with shoulder trouble. Though his strikeout rate was still impressive, Gray struggled with his command, allowing walks and homers at an unprecedented (for him) rate. Teams are naturally going to be suspicious that Gray's sore trapezius is the start of some kind of bigger shoulder trouble.
Bowden says Billy Beane will seek a huge return for Gray, saying he won't "short" on Gray's value. But Gray's value has never been lower. And barring a need for surgery, his value isn't likely to fall further. With three more years of team control after 2016, Beane doesn't have to be in a hurry to move his injured ace, and almost certainly won't at this trade deadline unless Gray is able to dispel everyone's doubts about his health. So Gray is a top 5 trade candidate who is not getting traded? Got it. Glad we talked about him then.
Bowden speculates that the Braves are definitely going to move their ace, and after seeing Teheran dominate the Brewers live last night, I can understand why he would be coveted. Only 25, however, and under team control (at a reasonable rate) for the next five years, the Braves should be in no hurry to move him, especially as they prepare to move into a new park next year (to replace the perfectly good one they already have). After all, Teheran will almost certainly be an effective pitcher on the next Braves team that makes the postseason.
Bowden highlights the Red Sox as a potential trading partner, and Rafael Devers in particular as a return. Devers was ranked as the #2 overall prospect in the Sox's organization by Baseball America. Certainly, he's a fantastic prospect. But he's also only 19 years old and currently struggling in A-ball. He is at least two or, maybe, three years away from the Majors, and is not a lock to stay at third base. Teheran is good enough and young enough to warrant a package headlined by Major League ready talent.
I have no doubt that Rich Hill is going to be traded. The A's are going nowhere in 2016, Hill has been excellent, and he's not signed beyond this year. He'll wind up on a contender. But my God, Hill has made just 14 starts since coming back from the devastating injury problems that sidetracked his career from 2008-2014. I have to imagine that anyone interested in Hill is going to be wary of that history, and be very hesitant to back up the Brinks truck.
I have no doubt that Lucroy will be moved as well. But to the Mets? Are we forgetting that Travis d'Arnaud is a thing? And who are they giving up? Don't get me wrong, the Mets have good prospects and young players they could deal, but Lucroy really is going to merit the biggest package out there this summer. A package far bigger than the Rays, who are currently hovering around .500 and who just lost their star centerfielder, are going to want to spend on the off chance they can snag a Wild Card spot. So many teams are going to need a catcher. This is dumb. Why are we talking about the Rays?
The oft-injured Reddick is hurt with a broken thumb, but was having a great season before he got hurt. Now, he's out and won't be ready until the end of June. But who knows how effective he'll be if he has weakness in that thumb? And, as Bowden points out, he's a free agent at the end of the year. Whoever acquires him will not receive draft pick compensation when he leaves. Meanwhile, the Royals' system is as bare as it's been in a decade, and they will need premium talent like Raul Mondesi and Kyle Zimmer to fill holes in the next couple years. So, yeah. It's a good thought, Jim, but if the Royals are acquiring Reddick, it's not for the kind of monster package Bowden is implying.
Now, it's certainly possible that Bowden has front office sources, but he isn't citing them here. This is just wild speculation. It appears that he's throwing darts and connecting players and teams at random. All it does is make the trade deadline dumber and more chaotic. It makes fans panic. This is supposed to be fun, but it's smart fun. It's supposed to be based in reality.
"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," is what my grandmother used to tell me. I...don't always follow that advice. But I'll make Jim Bowden a promise. If he stops saying dumb things, I'll stop criticizing them.